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Amy Bucher micro-interview on Habit Weekly

I am a writer and editor for Habit Weekly's newsletter. Here's something from last week: Samuel and Aline interviewed their excellent guest, Amy Bucher, this week on Habit Weekly's very own podcast. You can read a micro-interview of that episode in which they discuss everything from how Amy became the VP of Behavioral Design Change at MadPow, rating meditation, and more:


Q: How did you get started in applied Behavioral Science?

A: Lucky steps in my career. If I’m looking back now and giving advice to my younger self, I would say to pursue my heart more instead of only what my brain said and not waste emotional energy worrying about my decisions.

Q: What do you think of Ariely’s opinion: “I used to believe behavioral scientists were amateur designers, but now I think designers are amateur behavioral scientists.”

A: The tools that come from human-centered design helps my behavioral science practice. In fact, when designers reach out to me asking for behavioral science resources, I always tell them to read “Habit Weekly!”

Q: How do you set up your process of understanding the problem?

A: I try to learn the problem space. What I find the most valuable at the beginning is the stakeholder interviews. I don’t usually take my client’s idea of the problem at face value; stakeholders allow me to see if it is the right framing.

Q: Walk us through a perfect behavioral change app?

A: Personalization helps because people have different motivations for a similar outcome, e.g., what might work for the bride fitting into her wedding dress, but not for the person making life-long and sustainable change. I feel very passionately about scaleable personalization; my research indicates it helps a lot with the pillars of motivation.

Q: What makes good or bad feedback?

A: Give people actionable, positive feedback, or else “so what.” Showing immediate actions to the user is super important, too. People need their small wins acknowledged, especially if the result of their changed behavior isn’t yet noticeable. We’ve also found that tone is fundamental to the success of a behavioral change interaction. Some people respond better to a hard line if they’re off track; other people need positive reinforcement.

Q: Overrated or underrated: meditation?

A: Overrated!

Q: Writing a book?

A: A little bit of both.

You can listen to the full podcast (42 min) and read Amy’s book, Engaged: Designing for Behavior Change if you missed our Habit Weekly Pro book of the month discussion.

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